Everyone knows about the major storylines in regards to the University of Tennessee and the NFL Draft.
What pick will Eric Berry be taken in tonight?
Will Dan Williams be a first round pick?
Those questions will be answered very soon, even before the night is over. There are other NFL-type storylines that some Vol fans may not be so familiar with.
About three weeks ago, one former Vol was sitting home watching television when he received a call that he wasn’t expecting.
Former Vol defensive lineman Wes Brown didn't recognize the number.
“I was totally surprised when the phone rang,” Brown told InsideTennessee.com. “I first wondered who was calling from a 904 area code. When they told me that they were with the Jacksonville Jaguars, I wondered why they were calling me.”
It appeared that Brown’s senior season impressed the Jaguar coaching and scouting staff and they were interested in finding out more about the talented defensive tackle.
“They were asking why I didn’t post any numbers in any combines or Pro Days, they had did some research and knew about my knee problems, but wanted to see if I planned on taking a shot at playing at the next level,” Brown said.
According to Brown, Jacksonville had a lot of great things to say about Brown’s game and they were interested in pursuing the chance of Brown playing for the Jaguars.
“I’ll be honest with you, the fact that they felt the way they did about me and the things they said truly made me feel good inside,” Brown said. “They were really high on me as a player. They loved the effort I gave out on the field. I told them that was the way I was always taught to play the game at the University of Tennessee.
“For those guys at that level to think so much of me, means a lot.”
Brown then did perhaps one of the toughest things he has ever done in his life, he told the Jaguar coaching staff thanks but no thanks.
“I told them I really appreciated the opportunity,” Brown recalls. “I just told him that I didn’t think there was any way physically I could continue playing football. My knees are in really bad shape, people don’t realize how much pain I’m in all the time.”
That pain was something that the senior was willing to endure his final season at Rocky Top, and it makes a big statement about what type of person and player that Vol Nation had in Brown.
“I played golf the other day with some friends,” Brown explained. “I decided that I would walk all 18 holes and visit with my friends. That night I couldn’t even sleep, my knees throbbed and swelled so bad.”
So what made Brown keeping playing for the Vols, what kept him from giving up the game he loved because of the pain he was enduring?
“It was a dream of mine to go out on top at the University of Tennessee,” Brown said. “I couldn’t give up, I wouldn’t allow myself to. I had to finish my career at Rocky Top on a high note.
It wasn’t without sacrifice or pain.
“Every bit of pain I have endured this past season was worth it,” Brown said. “If I had it do over again, I would. That’s how important playing for the Vols has always meant to me.”
Brown grew up bleeding orange, and he remembers as a young kid playing football out in the yard, pretending to be Al Wilson or other Vol favorites.
“I grew up a huge UT fan,” Brown said. “It was a dream come true to actually become a member of this team. God blessed me with the opportunity to wear the Orange and White. It’s a great honor to wear that jersey. Those are memories that will always bring a smile to my face."
Brown gives a lot of credit to last year’s coaching staff for him being able to complete his dream.
“Those coaches really took good care of me,” Brown said. “They knew how bad I was hurting. They didn’t make me go through every practice. They knew if they did my dream and goal of completing my career at UT would fall short. That didn’t happen, I thank God everyday for that.”
So when the NFL came calling offering him perhaps big money to play a little more, it didn’t take him long to make a tough decision.
“My medical bills probably would outweigh my pay,” Brown said with laugh. “I grew up loving football, dreaming of playing in the league. My biggest dream was to be a Tennessee Volunteer and to run through the T, I have been blessed to do that, my life is complete. I can go on without playing in the NFL, but knowing that a team thought I was capable of playing will always be something I will remember and cherish.”